The study of animal behaviour.

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Why do people and animals stretch out their bodies and what is causing this behaviour?

I noticed that my cat which is only 6 months old has started stretching its body from time to time. Then I thought that this motion doesn't seem very natural from another cat's viewpoint, so my cat ...
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1answer
63 views

Why do cats like enclosed spaces (e.g. boxes) so much?

A recent article doesn't reach a firm conclusion, but offers two possible explanations. Hiding is a behavioral strategy of the species to cope with environmental changes and stressors. It ...
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30 views

How did the tendency to perform death rituals evolve?

Both elephants and humans perform rituals when deaths occur. However, I do not see any evolutionary benefit of this. The rituals take time, which apparently could be better spent hunting, foraging, ...
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32 views

Any examples of animal behavior in response to meteor showers?

I just spent two nights observing the Perseids and was wondering whether any animals have been recorded to exhibit unusual behaviour in response to meteor showers. It is known that some animals ...
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1answer
30 views

Do “virgin” ant queens ever shed their wings?

In species that reproduce sexually, if an ant queen goes on a nuptial flight and does not successfully mate, will she still shed her wings and try to found a colony (although she probably won't ...
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41 views

Are grasshoppers monogamous?

Noticed two grasshoppers jumping together on the porch, and started wondering if they are monogamous? I am aware they have males and females.
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945 views

Can beavers control the direction a tree falls?

We humans can easily control the direction a tree falls by making a number of strategic cuts, essentially creating a hinge: This prevents trees from falling on equipment and people and sets them up ...
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2answers
234 views

Are we more attracted to people of the same ethnicity? [closed]

Are humans more attracted to people from their own ethnic groups? I ask this because most of the time people have relationships with people of their own ethnicity, and I wonder if it's purely social, ...
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38 views

Crow branch pecking behaviour

I was walking through a small park when two crows started cawing at me, and followed me, flying from tree-to-tree as I walked. I speculate that this is a territorial or protective behaviour, but what ...
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80 views

Do any birds have established “poke a predator's eyes out” behavior?

Is there a pattern/tactics of behavior in any birds species that consists of attacking a predator's eyes with its beak? I'm looking for established tactics, not 1 or 2 anecdotal examples.
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Does level of bats activity differs from day to day?

Say we measure bats activity as number of passes through given area. Can it differ significantly depending from day to day or it stays on average roughly the same? I am wondering whether the following ...
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754 views

Why do pigeons kill their chicks when touched by a human?

I used to have many pigeons around the house. If by chance one of the chicks fell out of the nest, we used to put it back using gloves. Usually, if we would touch the chicks with our bare hands, ...
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76 views

Can dolphins actually communicate linguistically?

Humans use "language." By language, I mean the thing I am using right now to talk to you. I know dolphins and orcas have very complex communication systems and also seem to process linguistic and ...
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62 views

Advantages of gregarious vs solitary behaviour?

I'm trying to explain why birds (specifically wildfowl) are gregarious during the winter and solitary during the summer. I think that in winter, birds are gregarious to reduce the risk of predation ...
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3answers
258 views

Is homosexuality an adaptation in humans?

Homo sapiens have menopause - as some other mammals (e.g. some Cetacea) - a phenomenon where older females live for decades after the end of their own reproduction. Perhaps homosexuality, that looks ...
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91 views

Why do these earthworms stay between the road lines?

This article shows pictures of earthworms during floods in Texas. The worms ball up, supposedly in order to survive the floods. Can anyone explain the phenomenon a little? I can't seem to find ...
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211 views

Do species other than humans have distinct daily feeding patterns?

I have a general interest in complex adaptive systems and I have found that nature and the organisms within it is a perfect natural case of a rich adaptive system with a lot of possibilities for ...
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76 views

Do ant colonies prioritize survival of particular members above others?

In some (perhaps small) human communities people may starve because they have no income. This could be interpreted as a consequence of them not participating in the community, hence they don't get any ...
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5answers
631 views

Does any animal species have two sexes and more genders?

Does it exist any animal species that have two sexes and a kind of different internal diversification in two genders or more? I mean no something like different-task-based diversity but something ...
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3answers
88 views

What triggers the migration of robins?

I live in central Massachusetts, and have begun seeing robins, as we generally do in early March. The temperature is well below normal, though, and three feet of snow are covering the still-frozen ...
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3answers
6k views

Why can all animals swim in water without learning to swim but humans cannot?

I had a question since I was a child. I was always curious about the fact that all animals can swim in water. They don't need any training or to learn swimming. But humans need to learn to swim. Why ? ...
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3answers
169 views

Do animals also dream?

By "dream", I mean: Dreaming while sleeping. Dreaming about their future life while being awake. Thank you in advance.
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191 views

Why don't birds in flocks fly into each other?

I've seen videos of hundreds of birds flying in the same general direction but creating incredible patterns in the sky seemingly instantaneously! How do they all know in what direction to turn at the ...
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2answers
233 views

Can canines communicate with each other using gaze direction?

After researching why humans have white scleras when most primates have dark scleras, I stumbled upon the cooperative eye hypothesis. It proposed that white scleras may have evolved on behalf that it ...
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69 views

Why do some animals try to imitate other animals?

There is a tendency of some animals (including people!) to be "copy-cats" and try to imitate members of their own, and sometimes other, species. The most obvious example is a parrot copying human ...
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862 views

Facultative Cannibalism?

I heard about Larger cats eating the cubs. Is it some kind of facultative cannibalism or they can eat there own kind like that? What are the facultative cannibalism present in animal kingdom? What ...
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4answers
531 views

How come most animals never seem to evolve over millenia?

People often say, including those with extensive knowledge in biology, that a certain species of animal will evolve in one way or another: 1.From changing environments. 2.Mutations. 3.Possibly even ...
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What if rB=C in hamilton's rule?

Hamilton's rule states that if rB>C then a gene giving altruistic behaviour will increase in frequency in the population. What would happen if rB=C? Will an individual perform the altruistic act?
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256 views

Are domesticated animals really “more intelligent,” or is that a myth/misunderstanding?

Often do I hear people speaking of how the domestic house cats are more friendly, less ferocious, less savage-like, and smarter and/or than their distinct but equivalent feline-species friends, like ...
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2answers
45 views

Why not use non-visual self-recognition to test for consciousness in an organism?

Background A well-known test for consciousness in an organism is to observe its ability to recognise itself in a mirror (see wikipedia article: "Mirror test"). Question Why haven't I come across a ...
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221 views

Do wolves bury food like dogs?

Many breeds of domestic dogs seem to like burying food, presumably in preparation for leaner times. Assuming that dogs evolved from animals similar to the modern wolves through a mix of natural and ...
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209 views

For how long can a raven stay airborne (a week or more)?

I'm wondering for how long a raven can stay continuously airborne, if strained to do so? If it makes a difference, I'm mostly interested in the Common raven, Corvus corax. Are there for instance any ...
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2answers
12k views

Where do migratory birds go when it rains?

I was reading a comic from XKCD which inspired me to ask this question: "well, where do they go when it rains?" I know that when it rains you usually don't see any birds flying through the sky. I ...
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1answer
76 views

Book-recommendation: Ethology

I am looking for a book that covers the following topics in ethology: Behaviour Sensory filtering, reponsive-ness, sign stimuli, learning and memory, instinct, habituation, conditioning, ...
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108 views

Which factors may affect a choice of an oviposition place in nocturnal moths?

Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata) is a small brachypterous (females have stunned wings - unable to fly) moth which places eggs on thick branches. I would like to know which abiotic and biotic factors ...
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83 views

What is this woodlouse doing?

I picked an apple from the ground, it was wet with dew and a woodlouse was stuck to it, with its back against the apple. When it got loose, it started flexing its "tail" like this for a while. Why?
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Dogs bark at familiar person in Santa costume. Why? Don't dogs trust smell over vision?

Last night 10 humans and 2 dogs spent Christmas together. At some point, one human dissappears for a few minutes and comes back wearing a full Santa outfit. Upon respawning, the dogs start barking ...
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1answer
192 views

Why does ant queen keep the eggs out of her hive?

I have captured an ant queen and now I'm trying to create an artificial ant nest. I have noticed that though she has dug a hole to hide in, she keeps the eggs out of it unless she feels that they ...
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2answers
134 views

What does this Barbary Macaque facial expression mean?

A girl pretended having a piece of food in her hand and pointed it to a Barbary Macaque in Gibraltar. As a response he made this facial expression to her. What does this mean?
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Why do animals only eat some parts of their food?

For example monkeys/apes only eat part of a fruit and then throw the rest. Cats (big and small species) only eat some parts of their prey and then they abandon it. Humans on the contrary leave as few ...
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333 views

Do non-human animals suffer from insomnia?

And how do we know whether they do or not? § If sleep is a physiological need, it seems weird that we become unable to fulfill on demand even in the absence of any obvious physical issues. We would ...
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31 views

Book recommendation on mammal (or just primate) behaviour, especially in relation to child-rearing

I have a growing frustration with the lows 'new-age' parenting is reaching, along with asininity of so much of our public schools' (and summer camps') philosophies and policies in relation to our ...
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200 views

Birds placing sticks on train tracks?

I live in a semi-rural area in Germany, close to a park which trains go through every 20 minutes. Today, I saw something that left me perplexed. There is a large population of birds that look like ...
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117 views

Competition for mates in sea horses

This source here ...research has shown that it is STILL the males that compete for females. says that male sea horses compete for mates but this source here Females exhibit a ...
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1answer
201 views

Why does a housecat (or other predator) play with it's food before killing and eating it? Does it make the food taste better?

I've read a couple people theorize that a cat playing with a mouse causes the mouse's body to be flushed with adrenaline before the final kill and that this adrenaline makes the meat more ...
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1k views

How do ants know where they are going without eyes? [closed]

I know that ants have some sense of direction, but what is the physiology behind this sense?
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346 views

Do fake wasp nests actually fool wasps?

I have seen fake wasp nests sold as a deterrent against wasps and similar insects. Do they really work? Is there some scientific evidence for it? A related link: ...
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1answer
135 views

Can foxes move their ears independently?

I've read that dogs can do move their ears independently, i.e., point one ear in the direction of a sound without having to point the other one at the same time. Is this a common trait with other ...
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1answer
113 views

To what extent do domestic animals understand language?

Note: Please tell me to re-post this in Cogsci or pets if this doesn't belong here. Hello All, I want to know how dogs or other domesticated animals differentiate between normal chat and a command. ...
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95 views

Will a garter snake eat unusual prey if made to smell like something normal?

I have noticed that my garter snake only eats after it has smelled it's prey to make sure it is a slug, and it doesn't matter whether it's moving or not. If I were to coat, say, a caterpillar with ...